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Harris DeWese

The Mañana Man Online

By Harris DeWese

About Harris

Harris DeWese is the author of "Now Get Out There and Sell Something." He is chairman/CEO at Compass Capital Partners and an author of the annual "Compass Report," the definitive source of info regarding printing industry M&A activity. DeWese has completed 100-plus printing company transactions and is viewed as the preeminent deal maker in the industry. He specializes in investment banking, M&A, sales, marketing and management services to printers.


Intro to Selling Profitably

This blog is derived from a book I wrote several years ago. “A Year of Selling Profitably” was written for printers to use as a guide in training their sales teams through a series of two-hour sessions over 48 weeks. The book’s first two chapters covered eight training sessions on the subject of prospecting for new business.

Overlook the fact that you are not part of a group and complete the exercises as an individual. Or, there may be other salespeople in your company who will train along with you.

If you have any questions or difficulties, call me at (484) 879-1870 or e-mail me at Now get out there and sell something!

Prospecting for New Business:

Blog 1: Five Reasons People Don’t Prospect
Blog 2: Overcoming Call Reluctance
Blog 3: Developing Prospecting Objectives
Blog 4: Brainstorming to Achieve Objectives

There are only two ways to increase sales: Sell to new accounts or sell more to existing customers. We are going to work on the former.

Many graphic arts salespeople do not prospect because they are not motivated or they are not equipped with the skills required to develop new business. This blog will examine the psychological and emotional reasons salespeople do not prospect, and then offer practical solutions for overcoming these obstacles.

In this session, we will review the five most common reasons salespeople do not prospect, or do so infrequently and ineffectively; and in the second, we’ll address how to overcome “call reluctance,” or the inability to pick up the telephone and talk to a prospect.

These blogs are designed to be periods of self examination into the number-one problem for many graphic arts salespeople—the inability to develop new business at rates greater than customer attrition. The last two blogs in this training segment will focus on helping salespeople develop prospecting goals.
WEEK 1: Five Reasons People Don’t Prospect

Exercise #1 (2 Hours)

Those who master prospecting often find the rewards are directly commensurate with the level of difficulty in finding prospects, meeting new people and selling against prospects’ established vendors. Fortunately, the rewards from prospecting are well worth the work.

New-account sales statistically return three times the sales volume of existing client sales for the same hour of work. Hence, an hour invested in developing new business should result in three times the sales revenue for an hour invested in existing clients

Sales prospectors risk only emotional discomfort against financial gain. Additionally, as the prospector masters the skills and principles of prospecting, the emotional discomfort lessens and becomes a healthy tension. Therefore, the prospector is investing only time against a return of money and personal satisfaction.

Becoming adept at developing new accounts requires that salespeople come to a clear, objective understanding of themselves. Within each salesperson are the attitudinal and motivational characteristics that can prevent success as a graphic arts prospector. When they are redirected, many of these barriers become attributes.

Much of the emotional difficulty attached to sales prospecting results from the peddler mentality, or salespeople’s perception of themselves as pushy and/or selling something that is not worthwhile. If you have this mentality, you will never become a productive new-account development specialist until you improve your self-perceptions. However, if you view yourself as the all-important link between buyers’ needs and your company’s services, you will be ready to conquer the world. Discussing the reasons why some salespeople do not prospect—or do so infrequently or ineffectively—is often the first step toward becoming a successful prospector. The reasons fall into five categories:

• Lack of initiative
• Poor organization
• Poor planning
• Inadequate information
• Lack of enthusiasm

Lack of Initiative. As it relates to prospecting, initiative is the more than the act of dialing the phone and calling prospects for appointments; it is more important than getting in the car or making prospecting sales calls. Initiative is required to begin the rational process of deciding what steps must be taken to initiate a personal prospecting program. Initiative is needed to gather the market information demanded by serious new-account development programs.

Extraordinary initiative is in order in the early preparation states of a planned personal prospecting program since much of the work is tedious and requires a great deal of thought. Fortunately, once done, initiative gains momentum.

Some salespeople simply do not know how to state their prospecting programs. Indeed, making the transition from the “shoot-from-the-hip” sales rep to the strategic-thinking, methodical salesperson is no easy task. It is akin to adopting the behavior necessary to quit smoking or lose 30 pounds.

Some salespeople have convinced themselves that they cannot get started unless they have the right tools. But some of the highest-earning salespeople have evolved the organizational systems they needed without relying on laptop computers and database software. Their “system” is often a box of dog-eared index cards or a worn three-ring binder. The point is, they have learned to keep their systems simple, and to base their personal organization on their plans. Through the years of use, the system has become a habit.

Poor Organization. Low-performing prospectors are almost always poorly organized. But good organization is not synonymous with a neat desk and clean car. The Harvard School of Business discovered long ago that organization is the product of planning.

Poor Planning. Generally, this means there is no plan. Most salespeople—and for that matter, many managers—do not plan because they have never become acquainted with the planning process. Others believe planning is some esoteric and complex exercise.

Successful prospecting will not work without a prospecting plan and a system. That means things have to be written and recorded. Accept the fact that it is difficult, and then do it.

Inadequate Information. Information and strategy development are driving the proliferation of new businesses and products. Planning and information are the fundamental tools of the high-performing graphics arts sales professional.

It is essential for every graphic arts salesperson to do market research. That means compiling a list of all those companies most apt to buy the kind of printing that their shop produces, then getting the name of the person who buys the printing from every company on the list. (Future sessions will explain in detail how to do the research.)

Lack of Enthusiasm. Genuine enthusiasm results from the development of new skills and competencies. Enthusiasm results when people know how to do things well, and when they do them over and over again. Salespeople who continue prospecting through the afternoon after receiving nine rejections in the morning know that selling printing is difficult. They know it, they accept it, and they keep on going.

Just 47 more blogs to go.

Now get out there and sell something!

A Year of Selling Profitably
DeWese bookBy Harris M. DeWese with Jerry Bray
Employ techniques and tools that turn weekly sales meetings into energetic learning experiences, resulting in a more enthusiastic, more motivated, and more effective sales force. Understand how these techniques and tools required to build successful marketing, sales and, ultimately, profits, will help you achieve “A Year of Selling Profitably.” Click to order a copy.

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